NU Notes: Huskers Ready for NCAA Regionals
The Nebraska women's gymnastics team is set for the NCAA Championships this weekend, March 31-April 2. NU will compete at the NCAA Denver Regional on Friday, March 31, in round two after receiving a first round bye. Nebraska will compete in Session I which is set for 3 p.m. (CT). The meet will be streamed live on ESPN+ (subscription required).
The Huskers will look to finish in the top two of their session to advance to the NCAA Regional Final, which is set for Sunday, April 2 at 6 p.m. (CT). Session I includes No. 6 LSU, No. 11 Oregon State and No. 19 Georgia.
Last Time Out
The Huskers are coming off a sixth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships after notching a 196.275 team score.
Clara Colombo led the way, earning a career-best 9.925 on the uneven bars, the second-highest score on the event. Emma Spence and Sophia McClelland both competed in the all-around. Spence finished with a 39.375 while McClelland finished with a 39.225.
The Big Red finished the regular season ranked No. 23 in the NCAA with a 196.730 NQS.
Scouting the Competition
NU will compete in the first session of the NCAA Denver Regional. The Huskers will take on No. 6 LSU, No. 11 Oregon State and No. 19 Georgia in round two of the NCAA Championships.
Session II is comprised of No. 3 Michigan, No. 14 Denver, No. 18 Minnesota and the winner of No. 28 Arizona/No. 35 North Carolina.
Follow the Huskers
Fans can follow the Huskers on Facebook at NebraskaWGym, Twitter at HuskersWGym or Instagram at HuskersWGymnastics for live updates during the meet. The meet will also be streamed live on ESPN+.
Huskers Head to Oklahoma for The Bruzzy
The Nebraska women's golf team journeys to Oklahoma to compete in a loaded 14-team field at The Bruzzy (April 1-2).
The Huskers will be challenged by a 5,976-yard, par-70 layout at the Dornick Hills Golf & Country Club in Ardmore. The Big Red will go head-to-head with 13 other teams ranked among the nation's top 100 by GolfStat, including No. 20 UCF, No. 32 Texas Tech, No. 34 Houston, No. 36 TCU and No. 40 Tulsa. The hosts from No. 43 North Texas join the No. 49 Huskers among the seven teams ranked among the nation's top 50 in the field.
The Huskers will arrive in Ardmore on Thursday in advance of Friday's practice round at Dornick Hills. The tournament begins with a shotgun start for 36 holes on Saturday, April 1 at 8:30 a.m. (CT). The Bruzzy will conclude with Sunday's final round beginning with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. (CT). Live scoring for the tournament will be available through GolfStat.com.
True freshman Kelli Ann Strand (Challis, Idaho) continues to lead Nebraska with a team-best 71.36 stroke average after earning her sixth top-10 finish with a tie for ninth at the Mountain View Collegiate in Arizona (March 17-19). Strand's performance in Tucson included a second-round 66 (-6) to close with a three-round score of 208 (-8). Her stroke average has her on school-record pace, and she heads to Oklahoma ranked No. 93 nationally by GolfStat and No. 98 by Golfweek.
Graduate student Megan Whittaker continues to be the model of consistency in the Husker lineup with nine top-35 finishes in nine tournaments on the year, including a career-best sixth-place finish to help the Huskers to a team title at the season-opening Green Wave Classic. Whittaker owns a career-best 72.60 stroke average, which has helped her to a No. 182 ranking by GolfStat and No. 206 from Golfweek. She owns five top-20 showings on the year.
Miu Takahashi won an individual tournament title in her first trip to Oklahoma this season. The sophomore from Nasu-Machi, Japan fired a final-round 69 (-3) to win the Dale McNamara Invitational in Broken Arrow with a 54-hole score of 213 (-3). Takahashi has trimmed her stroke average to 72.64, trailing only Strand and Whittaker among the Huskers. Takahashi ranks just outside the top 200 players in Division I according to GolfStat (213) and Golfweek (211). She owns four top-10 finishes on the year.
Juniors Lindsey Thiele and Michaela Vavrova are expected to round out Nebraska's five-count-four lineup at The Bruzzy.
April 1-2, 2023
Dornick Hills Golf & Country Club (Par 70, 5,976 Yards)
Saturday, April 1 (Rounds 1 & 2): 8:30 a.m. (Shotgun)
Sunday, April 2 (Round 3): 8:30 a.m. (Shotgun)
Live Scoring: GolfStat.com
Participating Teams (14)
Kansas State (92)
North Texas (43)
Texas Tech (32)
Western Kentucky (83)
1. Kelli Ann Strand
2. Megan Whittaker
3. Miu Takahashi
4. Michaela Vavrova
5. Lindsey Thiele
Freshman Strand Makes Instant Impact for Big Red
Kelli Ann Strand made a record-setting debut on her way to a title at the Green Wave Classic in New Orleans (Sept. 12-13).
Strand, a three-time Idaho state champion who was ranked among the top-310 players in the world (WAGR 308) before arriving at Nebraska, set the Husker freshman record with a second-round 65 (-7) while tying the NU record for best 54-hole tournament score with a 202 (-14) at the Bayou Oaks South Course. Strand's performance included a school freshman record 65 (-7) in the second round. The true freshman from Challis, Idaho, fired a 29 (-7) over the back nine in the second round before opening the third round with a 31 (-5) on the front nine, carding a 60 (-12) over those consecutive 18 holes splitting two rounds. The NCAA record for best round of women's golf is 61. Strand also was named the Big Ten Golfer of the Week (Sept. 15).
Strand, who earned her second straight Idaho Golf Association Women's Player of the Year award in December of 2022, won the Idaho Women's Match Play title. She added a runner-up finish at the Idaho Women's Amateur. She was also the runner-up at the Girls Junior Americas Cup (July 24-28) for the second straight year with a three-round total of 205 (-11). She captured third at the IMG Academy Junior World Championship (July 12-15) with a four-round total of 280 (-8), which came before competing at the U.S. Girls Junior Amateur in Kentucky (July 18-23), where she advanced to Match Play before finishing in a tie for 33rd.
Strand earned the No. 1 position in Nebraska's lineup for the season-opening Green Wave Classic by winning Nebraska's competitive qualifying rounds in advance of the tournament.
She leads Nebraska with a 71.36 stroke average over 26.5 rounds, which is on pace to shatter the school freshman record (73.90) and the overall school season record (72.18) - both held by All-American Kate Smith.
Strand is ranked No. 93 nationally by GolfStat and No. 98 by Golfweek.
Takahashi Takes Title, Huskers Finish Second at Dale McNamara Invite
Miu Takahashi won her first college title to lead Nebraska to a runner-up finish at the Dale McNamara Invitational in Broken Arrow, Okla., Oct. 10-11. Her one-stroke win came with a then-career-best 213 (-3), including a final-round 69 (-3).
Kelli Ann Strand added her third consecutive top-five finish to open her career, tying for third at 215 (-1), including a final-round 69 of her own. Michaela Vavrova contributed a 70 (-2) in the final round to surge into a tie for 22nd, while Megan Whittaker added a tie for 22nd as well with a three-round total of 223. Lindsey Thiele also pitched in a 70 in the final round to tie for 30th (226) in a 75-player field in Oklahoma.
The Huskers closed the 54-hole tournament with an 869 (+5) team score, just one stroke back of the team champions from Tulsa. Nebraska's final-round 280 (-8) was the best 18-hole score of any team in the tournament.
Whittaker Back for Fifth Year to Lead Huskers in Big Ten
A hard-working golfer who has shown impressive improvement throughout her five collegiate seasons, Megan Whittaker returns to lead Nebraska in the hunt for an NCAA Regional bid in 2022-23. The graduate student from Elkhorn, Neb., produced Nebraska's No. 2 stroke average (74.04) in 2021-22, just missing an individual NCAA Regional bid. She trailed only NCAA Regional qualifier Kirsten Baete (73.94) among the Huskers.
Whittaker opened her fifth season as a Husker with a career-best 207 (-9) to take sixth at the Green Wave Classic. It followed a big summer for Whittaker that included a sweep of the Nebraska women's match play and stroke play championships and a berth in the U.S. Women's Amateur.
Whittaker also joined teammates Michaela Vavrova and Kelli Ann Strand as Big Ten Golfers to Watch heading into the 2022-23 season. Whittaker produced the first two top-10 individual finishes of her career while matching Baete and Vanessa Bouvet for the team lead with seven top-25 finishes last year.
In fact, Whittaker has notched top-25 finishes in 13 of her last 17 collegiate tournaments, including a tie for 11th with a 213 (-3) at the Westbrook Spring Invitational (Feb. 26-27).
Whittaker has produced a career-best 72.60 stroke average over 26.5 rounds this season and is ranked No. 182 by GolfStat and No. 206 by Golfweek.
A star in the classroom and the community, Whittaker earned her bachelor's degree in finance in May of 2022. She is a four-time WGCA Scholastic All-American, a three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. In the community, she earned a prestigious Sam Foltz 27 Hero Leadership Award at Nebraska in 2021. She was also Nebraska's 2021 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner for women's golf.
Whittaker's ties to Nebraska women's golf are very strong, as her mother Kim (Lefler) lettered as a golfer for the Huskers from 1991 to 1994, helping Nebraska advance to the 1994 NCAA West Regional as a senior.
Vavrova Slovakian Player of the Year
Nebraska junior Michaela Vavrova was named the 2022 Slovakian Women's Player of the Year on Feb. 11. She earned the national honor after finishing second at the Slovak Amateur Championship and 12th at the AMUNDI Czech Ladies Challenge. Vavrova also represented Slovakia at the 2022 World University Golf Championships in Turin, leading Slovakia to a ninth-place finish. At the 2022 World Championships, she helped Slovakia to a 31st place finish.
She celebrated the award by carding the best round of her college career with a final-round 66 (-6) to help the Huskers close out a tournament title at the Westbrook Spring Invitational (Feb. 26-27). Vavrova vaulted 30 spots up the leader board on the final day in Arizona, tying for 20th with a career-best 216.
Vavrova missed the first week of fall classes while competing for the Slovakian Team at the World Amateur Team Championships in Paris in late-August. The third-year Husker was Slovakia's top finisher in a field that featured 56 of the world's best amateur teams.
Vavrova did not travel to the Green Wave Classic after capping her sophomore season at Nebraska by tying for 17th with a three-round total of 220 (+7) at the 2022 Big Ten Championship. She opened with a then-career-best 68 (-3) to sit atop the leader board after one round and was tied for fifth at 141 (-1) through two rounds in Pittsburgh.
Vavrova captured her first college title with a then-career-best 217 (+1) at the Stampede at The Creek in Elkhorn, Neb. (Oct. 4-5, 2021). She was named the Big Ten Co-Golfer of the Week (Oct. 6), and closed the 2021 fall campaign with a tie for 10th (217) that included a second-round 69 (-3) to help the Huskers to a runner-up finish at the White Sands Collegiate.
As a true freshman, Vavrova competed in all 21 rounds in the 2020-21 Husker lineup, posting NU's fourth-best stroke average (76.33). She notched three straight top-25 finishes (Arizona Wildcat, Allstate Sugar Bowl, Indiana Spring Invite). Vavrova also tied for 33rd (224) to help Nebraska to a runner-up team finish at the Big Ten Championship. She was NU's No. 2 finisher at the NCAA Columbus Regional with her tie for 45th (229).
Thiele Continues to Improve; Producing Strong Junior Year
Lindsey Thiele captured her second career top-10 finish by tying for eighth with a career-best 209 (-7) at the season-opening Green Wave Classic (Sept. 12-13). Her effort included a career-best 69 (-3) in the opening round.
As a sophomore, Thiele (pronounced TEEL) produced a solid 76.89 stroke average while competing in five tournaments. She shared the individual title with teammate Nicole Hansen at the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational (Sept. 20-21, 2021). Thiele opened with rounds of 70 and 7) on her way to a then-career-best 219 (+3) at Colbert Hills. Thiele's effort earned her Big Ten Co-Golfer-of-the-Week honors with Hansen (Sept. 22).
In the fall of 2022, Thiele produced five top-40 finishes while ranking fourth among the Huskers with a 74.00 stroke average.
The Wahoo, Neb., native who is the most recent of three sisters (Haley, Hannah) to play golf for the Big Red, was NU's sixth golfer in the count-four format at the 2021 Big Ten Championship.
An outstanding student, Thiele is a Regents Scholar at Nebraska and a two-time WGCA Scholastic All-American.
Huskers in National Polls
Nebraska entered the national rankings for the first time in many years when the Huskers came in at No. 19 in the Golfweek rankings (Sept. 22). The Huskers also entered the Mizuno WGCA Coaches Poll at No. 20 (Sept. 23). Following a runner-up finish at the Dale McNamara Invitational, the Huskers remained in the top 25 at No. 23 in Golfweek (Oct. 13), while ranking No. 28 in the Mizuno WGCA Coaches Poll (Oct. 14).
Nebraska is No. 43 by Golfweek (March 22) and No. 49 according to GolfStat (March 27). Freshman Kelli Ann Strand heads to Oklahoma ranked No. 98 individually by Golfweek, while graduate student Megan Whittaker (206) and sophomore Miu Takahashi (211) rank solidly among the top 250 golfers in the nation.
Sutherland Leads Huskers
After spending a season as associate head coach, Jeanne Sutherland was named the new Nebraska Head Coach on Thursday, May 5, 2022. Sutherland came to Nebraska after spending 10 seasons (2011-21) as the head coach at SMU. She previously spent 15 seasons as the head coach at Texas A&M (1992-2007).
In 2018, Sutherland was named the inaugural winner of the WGCA Kim Evans Award. She also earned the WGCA Founders Award in 2017. A four-time conference coach of the year at Texas A&M (3 Big 12, 1 Southwest Conference), Sutherland was also a two-time NCAA Regional Coach of the Year (1997, 2007). She led 13 Texas A&M teams to NCAA Regional play, including four NCAA Championship appearances in 1997 (17th), 2004 (24th), 2005 (22nd) and 2006 (19th).
In her head coaching career, Sutherland has guided 18 teams to NCAA Regional appearances. She has coached three individual All-Americans, five individual conference champions and three conference players of the year.
Huskers Honor Daegan Page with Folds of Honor Bag
The Nebraska women's golf team is honoring Marine Corporal Daegan Page from Omaha as part of the Folds of Honor Military Tribute Program during the spring of 2023.
Page, who was one of 13 service men and women killed in action while helping to evacuate people from the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan on Aug. 26, 2021, has his name, rank and branch of service displayed on a Husker women's golf bag this season.
Megan Whittaker, a graduate student from Elkhorn, Neb., proudly carried the bag in Page's honor in Nebraska's first spring tournament as part of a nationwide program sponsored by the Women's Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). Kelli Ann Strand carried it during Nebraska's run to the Westbrook Spring Invitational title in Arizona, while Michaela Vavrova carried the honor bag at the Briar's Creek Invitational.
Folds of Honor is a preferred charitable partner of the WGCA and the GCAA, and the groups work together to ensure that no family is left behind in the fight to preserve American freedom. Through scholarships and other assistance, they give back to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service to our country.
Daegan William-Tyeler Page would have celebrated his 25th birthday on Feb. 6, 2023, when the Husker women's golf team opens its spring season at the FAU Paradise Invitational in Boca Raton, Fla., on Monday. He was born in Red Oak, Iowa and moved to Omaha at age 5. He was an avid hockey player, competing for the state champion Westside Warriors, before graduating from Millard South High School in 2016. Page also loved skateboarding, the outdoors and animals.
Cpl. Page was a rifleman in 1st Platoon, Company G, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. To learn more about Daegan Page, or to help others "Live the Dae Way" visit the Cpl. Daegan Page Foundation website at daeganpage.org.
Huskers Hit the Road for Pair of Conference Matchups
The No. 45 Nebraska men's tennis (9-6, 1-1 Big Ten) embarks on its first Big Ten road trip of the season, as the Huskers take on No. 2 Ohio State on Friday in Columbus, Ohio, and No. 73 Penn State on Sunday in University Park, Pa. Live stream and stats will be available on Huskers.com, and updates will be posted on @HuskerMTennis on Twitter.
Scouting Ohio State (19-2, 2-0 Big Ten)
• The Buckeyes are riding a four-match win streak into Friday's dual, including wins over No. 5 Michigan, No. 23 Northwestern and No. 21 Illinois.
• Ohio State has five players ranked in singles, highlighted by No. 12 Cannon Kingsley and No. 15 JJ Tracy. The team also has three ranked doubles pairings, including two in the top-10 with Lutschaunig and Tracy ranked No. 3 and Lutschaunig and James Trotter ranked No. 7.
• In its 19 wins, Ohio State has outscored its opponents 90-8.
Nebraska is 0-12 all-time against Ohio State. The last time the two teams went head-to-head was March 2021, which the Buckeyes won 7-0. The 2022 matchup was canceled due to COVID-19 related issues.
Scouting Penn State (13-6, 0-2 Big Ten)
• Penn State is currently in the midst of a three-match losing streak, with its last win coming against Florida Gulf Coast earlier this month.
• The Nittany Lions have also dropped back-to-back matches against No. 21 Illinois and No. 23 Northwestern to open Big Ten play.
Nebraska is 4-7 all time against Penn State and is currently riding a two-match win streak. Prior to the past two matches, the Huskers lost seven straight to the Nittany Lions.
The Huskers return to Lincoln for its final homestand of the season, as they host Indiana on Friday, April 7 at 5 p.m. CT, and Purdue on Sunday, April 9, at 12 p.m. CT.
Huskers Open Outdoor Season in Texas
After a three-week break, the Nebraska track and field team returns to action with the beginning of its outdoor season on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Texas.
The Huskers will be split between two meets this weekend. Half of the squad will compete at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, hosted by Texas at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. The other half will participate in the Bobcat Invitational hosted by Texas State University at the Texas State Track and Field Complex in San Marcos.
Start times for the Texas Relays are 11 a.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday. Start times for the Bobcat Invitational are 10 a.m. all three days.
2023 Indoor Season Recap
The Huskers are coming off a record-breaking indoor season under first-year head coach Justin St. Clair. Nebraska had 10 indoor All-Americans, while the men had their best national finish (eighth) since 2009 and the women had their best national finish (14th) since 2006. Axelina Johansson (second, women's shot put), Jonah Wilson (second, men's shot put) and Darius Luff (third, 60m hurdles) all took home NCAA medals.
Nebraska's five Big Ten indoor champions included Luff (60m hurdles), Nick Bryant (600m), Mayson Conner (high jump), Wilson (men's shot put) and Johansson (women's shot put). The men finished second in the team standings while the women finished eighth.
The Huskers also had five new school records set during the indoor season: Luff (60m hurdles), Bryant (600m), Till Steinforth (heptathlon), Johansson (shot put) and Taylor Latimer (weight throw). NU athletes also combined for 22 new top-10 marks in school history.
2022 Outdoor Season Recap
The Huskers collected six Big Ten titles at the 2022 Big Ten Outdoor Championships in Minneapolis. Maddie Harris repeated as the Big Ten javelin champion, while Jenna Rogers won the high jump title as a freshman. Mayson Conner won the men's high jump crown, as he and Rogers won all four Big Ten high jump crowns in 2022. Maxwell Otterdahl was the Men's Field Athlete of the Championships after sweeping the shot put and discus titles. The men's 4x400-meter relay team of Jacob Hyde, Alex Nelson, Cory Berg and Nick Bryant also won gold in a surprising upset.
At the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Harris finished second in the javelin while Johansson placed third in the shot put. The Huskers finished with eight All-Americans.
New Huskers to Watch in 2023
Kavian Kerr (Kansas State) finished fourth in the long jump and 200m at the 2022 Big 12 Indoor Championships. His 200m PR of 20.99 would be the fourth-fastest time in Nebraska school history.
Tanessa Morris (Montana) was a two-time Big Sky champion in the hammer throw and her PR of 210-4 (64.14m) at Montana would rank as the second-best throw in Husker history.
Rhema Otabor (Florida International) placed fourth in the javelin at the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Championships to earn first-team All-America honors. Her personal best of 184-6 (56.25m) would rank second in Nebraska school history.
Arthur Petersen (UT Arlington) was a two-time All-American and Sun Belt champion in the javelin. Petersen was sixth at the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Championships and 11th in 2021. His personal best of 262-2 (79.90m) would be a Nebraska school record.
Rhianna Phipps (Kansas State) finished 12th in the triple jump at the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championships and 17th at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships. She has a personal best of 44-4 1/4 (13.52m), and she finished third at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in 2023.
Omar Rodgers (Southern Illinois) was the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles champion at the 2022 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championships.
Brithton Senior (South Dakota) was an All-American in the 60m hurdles in 2021 after finishing 10th at the NCAA Indoor Championships. During the 2023 indoor season, Senior was the Big Ten runner-up in the 60m hurdles and qualified for the NCAA Championships with the No. 5 time in school history.
Velecia Williams (Kansas State) finished 17th in the long jump at the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Championships as a freshman. Her outdoor long jump personal best of 21-0 3/4 (6.42m) would put her on Nebraska's all-time top-10 chart at No. 10.
Jonah Wilson (Washington) was a three-time All-American in the shot put for the Huskies. Wilson was eighth at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships, ninth at the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championships and 16th at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships. In his lone indoor season at Nebraska in 2023, Wilson won the Big Ten shot put title, finished second at the NCAA Indoor Championships, was the Big Ten Men's Field Athlete of the Championships and of the Year, and he posted the No. 2 throw in school history (68-7 1/4, 20.91m).
2023 Nebraska Track & Field Captains
Mayson Conner, Senior, High Jump
Michael Hoffer, Senior, Jumps
Lishanna Ilves, Junior, Jumps
Johanna Ilves, Junior, Sprints/Hurdles
Micaylon Moore, Junior, Jumps
Jenna Rogers, Sophomore, High Jump
Bailey Timmons, Senior, Distance
Madison Yerigan, Senior, High Jump
Huskers Set for Big Ten Championships
The No. 5 Nebraska men's gymnastics team is set to travel to Columbus, Ohio for the Big Ten Championships where they have a chance at the title. All five teams competing in the Big Ten Championships are ranked among the top seven in the NCAA.
The Huskers will compete on Friday, March 31, for the team title, while the top 10 individuals on each event will advance to event finals on Saturday, April 1. Both sessions are set to begin at 7 p.m. (CT) and will be broadcasted live on the Big Ten Network.
Ahead of the competition, Nebraska ranks among the top five in the NCAA in four of the six events. The Huskers rank first on high bar (67.967), second on vault (71.883), and fourth on pommel horse (67.100) and rings (67.917). All scores reflect the four-score average.
Last Time Out
NU controlled the competition on senior night from start to finish after taking first place in the tri-meet against Ohio State and Greenville (410.400-401.750-382.050). The Huskers pocketed five of the six titles. Cooper Giles took the title on pommel horse (14.45), while Taylor Christopulos, Liam Doherty- Herwitz, and Donte McKinney took a share of the vault title (14.75), a career-best for Doherty-Herwitz. Christopulos added his second event title on floor (14.40), while finishing first with a career-best score on parallel bars (13.95). Zac Tiderman rounded out the title winners with the high bar title (14.10).
Following the meet, national rankings highlights the Huskers' performance. Recently tabbed 2023 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, Christopulos is featured in first place in the NCAA rankings in the all-around (81.733), second on vault (14.767), and fifth on floor (14.40). Donte McKinney is first on vault (14.783) and second on high bar (14.167). Cooper Giles is sixth on pommel horse (14.183), and Chris Hiser is ninth on rings (14.083). Zac Tiderman concludes the rankings in third place overall on high bar (14.133).
Scouting the Competition
Looking ahead, the Big Ten is led by No. 5 Michigan who won the regular season conference title. The Wolverines won their third consecutive regular season Big Ten title and fourth overall. No. 4 Illinois, No. 6 Penn State and No. 7 Ohio State will add to the competition over the weekend.